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Tennessee Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

If your Volunteer State romance is starting to wear you down, you might be wondering what your legal options might be for ending your marriage. And distinguishing between a legal separation from a divorce and a summary dissolution from an annulment is enough to make you dizzy -- especially because each of these legal proceedings has strict regulations determining the circumstances it covers and to whom it applies. This is a quick introduction to one of those procedures: annulment and prohibited marriage laws in Tennessee.

Annulments and Prohibited Marriages

Marriages all have a romantic quality to them, but along with being fairytales marriages are strictly controlled by government rules and regulations. Each state enforces its own annulment and prohibited marriage laws which control who can get married and how, and even disallow marriage entirely in certain situations. Tennessee laws, for example, do not recognize same sex marriages.

Annulment Laws in Tennessee

Tennessee’s annulment and prohibited marriage laws are highlighted in the chart below.

Code Section

36-3-101 102; 36-4-125; 36-3-113

Grounds for Annulment

Previous marriage (unless absent for 5 yrs. and not known to be living)

Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment


Legitimacy of Children

Annulment shall not affect the legitimacy of children

Prohibited Marriages

Between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, bigamous, same sex

Same-Sex Marriage in Tennessee

At this time, Tennessee law does not recognize same-sex marriages. While some cities and counties have instituted domestic partnership benefits which are available to same-sex couples, the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage remains in force. Although the amendment survived one state lawsuit in August 2014, a federal lawsuit challenging the ban is currently being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

As you can see, the state of same-sex marriage nationwide, and especially in Tennessee, remains in flux. For the latest legal developments, you can visit FindLaw’s Same-Sex Marriage section and view a list of states that allow same-sex marriage.

Related Resources for Tennessee Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

Deciding to end a marriage (or wondering whether or not your marriage was legal to begin with) is never a simple choice. For more information and resources regarding this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on Annulment, Divorce, and Tennessee Family Law. You can also contact an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney if you would like legal assistance with a marriage or divorce matter.

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